Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ALACE Labor Assistant Program

Last Thursday, I was thrilled to get the ALACE Labor Assistant training and certification program manual in the mail (I wasn't sure if they would mail be anything prior to the actual training or not and July seems like a long way away). I read the whole thing cover to cover right away, of course. I'm very excited. For someone who has said many times that she doesn't want to be a doula, I'm really looking forward to this training!

The Power of Intention

Several weeks ago I finished reading a wonderful book called The Power of Intention
Wayne Dyer is one of my favorite authors and this is one of my new favorite books. It was life-changing. I hope I can implement all of the great stuff into my life! (I need to get a bracelet that says WWWDD--for What Would Wayne Dyer Do, LOL!) We also have the CD program, but we haven't finished listening to it yet. It is a 6 CD set and we've listed to 2 of the CDs. My husband and I enjoy listening to it together and discussing the ideas/insights as we go. It is really nice.

Birth & Breastfeeding

Last night I finished reading Birth & Breastfeeding by Michel Odent. I know many people really like him and he has really been a radical and devoted champion of women in birth, but I find that I just don't really "connect" with his style of writing. I love his "birth works" style and his "hands off the laboring woman" message (this book focused heavily on privacy in birth, which is really important, as well as discussing the damaging undertones to the common conception that women must have "support" in order to give birth successfully), but I find it hard to stay engaged with his books and this one I almost put down several times and didn't finish reading (I got more interested in the latter half of the book though and kept going. There was a great section about colostrum and about becoming a "colostral society" :-) I forget to emphasize sometimes just how truly liquid gold colostrum is--what wonderful, wonderful stuff (and how long devalued. He explored the near universal restriction of colostrum intake by the baby and how it serves to interfere with the natural motherbaby connection).

Another interesting (and I confess odd) section was about polygamy and how extended breastfeeding is best supported in polygamous cultures (?! This was one of the things I didn't connect with in this book).

He also talked about "new-style" childbirth educators--"for the most part, these are mothers who have no special qualification but, having given birth to their own children, feel the need to help other women who could benefit from their personal experience. They organize meetings, often at their own homes. They do not usually encumber themselves with any particular theoretical basis for their teaching, but may find it useful to give this or that school of thought as a reference. Their aim could most accurately be described as being to provide information and education, rather than specific preparation." This quote speaks to an idea that keeps floating around in my mind about hosting a birth group (vs. a CBE "class").

Monday, February 19, 2007

Friends of Missouri Midwives newsletter

Of course, I had to post about reading the latest issue of the Friends of Missouri Midwives newsletter! It was riveting and delightful! (I'm the editor ;-) Luckily for the next issue, I have already received several great contributions from the membership and so the spring issue will not be "the Molly newsletter," but will also have vibrant content from several different locations in the state. Yay!

Friday, February 16, 2007


On Tuesday, I finished reading Fruitful, by Anne Roiphe. The subtitle is Living the Contradictions : A Memoir of Modern Motherhood. Like, Of Woman Born, it was written before the more recent wave of "momoirs" (that is kind of a dismissive/derogatory term I guess, but it does help me classify the genre) and focuses heavily on feminism & its relationship to mothers/motherhood (so, different than momoirs in that the focus is less on personal experience of motherhood and more on motherhood and its social/cultural/political connections, I suppose). It was less "heavy" and depressing than Of Woman Born though. The focus of the book is on the tension between feminism and motherhood (i.e. can you be a "good" feminist and also be a "good" mother!) and she explores that issue throughout. She is a feminist and yet critiques some elements of the movement's impact on mothers and motherhood. She is also very pro-father and I appreciated her exploration of men/fathers as people vs. "evil patriarchy--down with them!"

Again, I have much more time to read than I have to write, so I'm going to have to cut myself off. I was just getting started too! Maybe I'll come back to this one...

I did have some more time--this is a quote about the crux of the mother/feminist issue: "Motherhood by definition requires tending of the other, a sacrifice of self-wishes for the needs of a helpless, hapless human being, and feminism by definition insists on attention being paid to the self. The basic contradiction is not simply the nasty work of a sexist society. It is the lay of the land, the mother of all paradoxes, the irony we cannot bend with mere wishing or might of will. "

This reminds me of my journal entry from my early months as a new mother--"is it possible to balance motherhood with person-hood?" I'm still figuring it out! (some days it seems to work, some days it really doesn't!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Paths to Becoming a Midwife

This weekend I finished reading Paths to Becoming a Midwife, published by Midwifery Today. It was really excellent--most of the authors were so skilled that each article convinced me that THAT was the best path! (even though they represented a variety of viewpoints and ideas.)

Sad baby = short entry! I've got to go!

Born to Buy

This afternoon I finished reading Born to Buy by Juliet Schor (last year I also read her The Overworked American and The Overspent American). It was pretty good--I got a little bogged down by the charts and data analysis (maybe not the best idea for naptime reading!) and I also felt like it wasn't as "exposé" quality as I had been expecting. I had read most of the "shocking" details
already in magazine articles or book reviews. While reading it, I found myself feeling depressed and dismayed about the state of childhood in America--it evoked images of heartless, consumeristic, selfish, totalitarian tots running about disrespecting adults and the very fabric of society disintegrating beneath our feet! Her own research didn't seem to fully support that image though, so maybe there is hope after all.

Something I found particularly interesting was this: "today's average (i.e. normal) young person between the ages of nine and seventeen scores as high on anxiety scales as children who were admitted to clinics for psychiatric disorders in 1957."

Sunday, February 4, 2007

A Good Birth, A Safe Birth

I forgot to mention that I also finished reading A Good Birth, A Safe Birth, which also arrived recently from Bookins. This book is the source of the oft referenced quote, "if you don't know your options, you don't have any." This book didn't contain any new information for me, but it was still a good book and I'd recommend it to people having their first babies. It was published in 1992, so you have to read it with that eye--skimming past information that has since become dated. However, almost all of the information is still valid and research is research--if numerous studies have demonstrated numerous times that fetal monitors are not useful, it doesn't really matter how "old" the studies are if the use of the "technology" disproven hasn't changed and is still being used in current times in the debunked way that the "ancient" research showed to be harmful. It is interesting that several Amazon reviewed critiqued the book as being "outdated," instead of getting the point that our "up to date" hospitals persist in using very "outdated" (or disproven) approaches/techniques.

I also found it distressing that the "disturbing trend" the authors reference in the introduction to this third edition--the trend toward high-tech birth--is still accelerating 15 years after the book was published (this is what I mean about "old" info not being "old" if the problems are continuing despite mountains of evidence to the contrary!). Namely, cesareans and induction.

I'm planning to donate this book to my HMN chapter library when the chapter gets of the ground (I'm still working on the application process, so it might be a while! :-)

The Doula Book, Sharing Birth, & Mind Over Labor

This weekend, I finished reading The Doula Book. In the middle of it I stopped to read Sharing Birth: A Father's Guide to Giving Support During Labor, that had arrived in a timely fashion from Bookins. Sharing Birth is by Carl Jones which led me to another book by him that I already had on my shelf: Mind Over Labor. Anyway, I don't think I'll be keeping The Doula Book--it was okay, but just not that interesting and the breastfeeding information given in the final section was poor (in the "notes from a postpartum doula" section, not the section before it about asymmetrical latch, which was pretty good). It DID make me think again about the huge value of a doula during labor, particularly for hospital births. I would think that having one in an out-of-home setting would be nearly essential (if what you want is as natural-and-intervention-free-as-possible-in-that-setting birth). It also made me feel excited about the ALACE doula training coming up in Rolla in July! (I signed up at the end of last month!).

In Mind Over Labor, I marked several good relaxation exercises that I plan to incorporate into my childbirth classes.

Mother Nurture

Last week I finished reading an absolutely excellent book called Mother Nurture. I read an excerpt from this book last year in New Beginnings (the magazine of La Leche League International) and immediately purchased it from an Amazon Marketplace seller. However, it took me until January of this year to actually read it (other books kept jumping ahead of it in the to-read line). The subtitle of this book is "A Mother's Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships"--this pretty much sums it up! The book is very thorough and comprehensive. I think every mother should read it! I'm planned to buy another copy for my LLL Group's lending library and also to start giving copies as gifts to new mothers. The book is primarily focused on the needs of mothers of young children (5 and under). I especially liked it because all of the strategies seem fresh, doable, and yet new--unlike some self-help books that offer the same or similar info over and over again (i.e. "make sure to take time out for yourself, like taking a nice bath, blah, blah, blah"), this book offered new ideas and things you don't read about other places. The book also explores Depleted Mother Syndrome in depth, which is a very interesting and relevant concept in itself, and gives step by step information on how to remedy the condition.